Sewerage and Water Board hires meteorologist, adds real-time pump monitors ahead of storm season

NEW ORLEANS -- The Sewerage and Water Board gave a tour of the Carrollton Water Plant Monday as it prepares for the wettest few months of the year.

Interim leaders at the S&WB said they've got some new tools to help with possible onslaughts of rain as hurricane season gets under way, including hiring an on-site meteorologist to help pump operators determine which areas of the city are getting the most rainfall during rain events.

They're working to avoid a repeat of the August floods, when an extreme rain event exposed the Sewerage and Water Board's critical pump failures and prompted the ouster of several high-ranking managers and the agency's director, Cedric Grant.

The biggest improvement, according to the board's interim operations manager Joe Sensebe, is the ability to monitor the pump stations in real time, "what pumps are on, how much power they're using ... how much rainfall is taking place."

"August 5th was a situation that really forced us to look more forward," Sensebe said.

Newly appointed interim director Jade Brown-Russell, a New Orleans attorney, said the Sewerage and Water Board plans to activate social media accounts to give real-time updates to residents.

"We know that receiving real-time information is critical to any emergency situation, therefore we are activating all of our sewerage and water board social media platforms to ensure that our citizens are well informed and that they are prepared and that they receive any updates very quickly," she said.